Philosophy Café meets at J & B Coffee (26th and Boston). Discussion is typically led by one of the members of the Philosophy Department, who gives a brief presentation of some issue or question.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 6:00pm
Professor Joel Velasco, Texas Tech University
Human Races: Biologically Real, Socially Constructed,
or Merely an Illusion?
It is common to hear pronouncements that races are an illusion or that humanity is all one race. But at the same time, we say that President Obama is biracial, that infant mortality is much higher for blacks in the US than for whites, that a patient's race matters for medical practice, and it certainly seems as though racial discrimination is still very common in our society. But could we say these things if race was not real? Some authors think that race, if it exists, is a biological category and so we should look to biology (often to population genetics) to settle the questions. Others point to the fact that racial classification is a social and cultural phenomenon which varies greatly in different cultures today and changes over time within cultures. This might mean that race is real, though socially constructed. Others think that these very same facts are exactly what it takes to show that race is not real. So what are we even asking when we ask, "Is Race Real"?
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 6:00 pm
Professor Francesca di Poppa, Texas Tech University
Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Professionals
A doctor refuses to perform an abortion because she has moral objections to the procedure. A pharmacist refuses to seprescription contraceptives because contraception is against her religious beliefs. What kind of assumptions ground the notion that health care professionals should be allowed exemptions from professional duties if such duties conflict with their religious or moral beliefs? Is there a line we can draw between ‘acceptable’ exemptions and ‘unacceptable’ ones? What about the patient’s autonomy?